Tiger Woods aims to find Masters form at Bay Hill

The Arnold Palmer Invitational starts tomorrow

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The Independent Online

120 of the world’s top players will contest the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Golf Club this week – one of the final top events before The Masters begins on 11th April.

Former world number one Tiger Woods heads into the tournament as the overwhelming favourite, having already secured seven Bay Hill titles in his career. The most recent of Woods' triumphs came last year, where he blew the rest of the field away to win by five shots and end a two-year spell without a tour win.

Woods enters this year's tournament on the back of an impressive victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, and a win at Bay Hill would be enough for him to regain the world number one status that is currently held by Rory McIlroy, who has opted to sit out at Bay Hill and play the Huston Open instead as part of his Masters preparation.

The history of Bay Hill is entwined with Woods' achievements. Between 2000 and 2003 he won four back to back Bay Hill Invitational championships to become only the fourth player in history to secure four consecutive tour wins at the same venue.

A host of top European players will be hoping to find form this week ahead of the first major of the season at Augusta. Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell will lead the European charge, with the latter looking to improve on his second place finish in 2012. Lee Westwood will also contend, aiming to find form to back his bid for a first elusive major championship.

History would suggest that The Masters is unlikely to produce a European champion this year. The last European to pull on the green jacket was Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999.

Among the other contenders are 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson and Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational will be played at Bay Hill Golf Club, beginning on 21 March.